SAFF Canada South Asian Film Festival Opening Gala

On Wednesday, October 31st the opening gala for SAFF Canada‘s inaugural South Asian Film Festival was held at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre. Global BC‘s Jas Johal introduced an evening of dance, music and film to kick off SAFF Canada’s South Asian Film Festival.

Pate Bayes and Hannah Fisher of SAFF
Artistic Director, Hannah Fisher and Executive Director, Pat Bayes, SAFF Canada

Artistic Director and Co-Founder of SAFF Canada, Hannah Fisher spoke of the diversity of films representing the countries participating in this year’s film festival. Cinema from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Bangladesh and the Maldives are featured in this year’s festival. Fisher welcomed all the sponsors and guests at the opening event and spoke of her experience with the SAFF project. Pat Bayes, Executive Director, joined Fisher to thank all the SAFF staff and volunteers for their hard work and dedication to the project.

Shiamak Vancouver Dancers
Shiamak Dancers provide a dance performance to start the evening

The evening started off with a visually stunning performance by the Shiamak dancers. The movement and beautiful colours were stunning. The blend of East and West in the choreography was symbolic and fitting for the evening. Shiamak Davar welcomed the festival as a sponsor of the festival. He was unable to attend due to commitments and a project he was working on related to the recent passing of Indian Film Director, Producer, and Writer Yash Chopra.

BC Premier Christy Clark at SAFF
A message from Premier Christy Clark in support of SAFF

The audience viewed a special video message from BC Premier Christy Clark who welcomed the festival and praised an event that celebrates the diversity that makes BC a culturally rich province.

Jaya Bachchan in Vancouver at SAFF Opening Gala
Jaya Bachchan, Honorary Patron for SAFF Canada South Asian Film Festival

Acclaimed Indian Actress, Member of Parliament and Activist, Jaya Bachchan was in attendance as the Honorary Patron for the SAFF Canada South Asian Film Festival. Mrs. Bachchan officially opened SAFF by lighting the ceremonial lamp and expressed her appreciation for the film festival. She also wished the audience a happy upcoming Diwali.

Makarand Bramhe
Director Makarand Bramhe delivers his message to the audience

A screening of the Indian documentary Two Voices, One Soul (Adwait Sangeet) ended the evening with a moving story of brotherhood and inspirational music. The documentary follows brothers, Rajan and Sajan Mishra through their lives and tells the story of their upbringing through to their present day recognition as two of India’s finest classical Indian singers. Director Makarand Bramhe was in attendance and read a special message from Pundit Rajan and Pundit Sajan who were unable to travel due to Hurricane Sandy.

An inspirational night to begin the five day celebration of South Asian film. Thank you SAFF Canada for bringing this festival to Vancouver, Abbotsford and Surrey!

Surrey604 Team at SAFF 2012 Vancouver
Surrey604 proud sponsors of SAFF (L to R): Kevin Chua, Esmir Milavic, Fatima Beatty, Daman Beatty & Sukhdip Basra

It’s not too late to catch some of the SAFF Canada films. Check out the schedule on the SAFF Canada website. The closing Gala takes place on Sunday, Nov 4th. More details can be found on the SAFF website.

See our video and photo compilation below of the SAFF Canada Opening Gala.

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Fatima Beatty
Fatima was born and raised in Surrey. She is a yoga fanatic and loves aromatherapy. Her professional experiences are in Community Development, Communications/Marketing, & Human Resources. Fatima has been an active volunteer within the community for several years. With a passion for the creative and a love for the entrepreneurial spirit, Fatima is excited to bring something new to our city.